5 Neurosculpting Practices for Lasting Brain Change

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April 8, 2019

How many times do you beat yourself up for repeating the same limiting or self-sabotage patterns even though you “know better”? You might find yourself reaching for the next self-help book or seminar which often reiterates all the ways you “know better.” Back to square one!

Part of the problem is that knowing better often has little power to actually create real and lasting brain change. Science supports the idea that our unconscious and subconscious processes account for far more of our behavior drivers than conscious thought processes. So if our behaviors and patterns are dictated more from subconscious patterns than conscious ones, it really does little good to “know better.” Instead, for lasting brain change we have to “do better.”

Self-directed neuroplasticity, and practices like Neurosculpting, are some of the keys to influencing our thought patterns, breaking old ones, and establishing new ones. The great news is we can use some simple practices to begin winning over the brain and body, priming it to be more predisposed to self-directed change. Incorporating these five best practices can open the doors to a more graceful, resilient, and lasting experience of change.

1. Gratitude

Having a gratitude practice has been neurologically and biologically proven to have a profound effect on the body and mind. When the mind and body reach these states we feel less apprehensive about change and more open to new possibilities and uncertainty. UC Berkeley reports that practicing gratitude can lead to:

  • A strong immune system
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Joy
  • Forgiveness
  • Ease of chronic pain
  • Compassion
  • Social involvement

A simple gratitude practice can be five minutes in the shower making a list of the things in your day that support your comfort and safety. These might be appreciating the warm water, noticing you have shelter, or remembering you had a soft bed to sleep in. When you focus on the simple yet plausible things that support your comfort and safety, gratitude begins to cultivate naturally.

2. Brain Nutrition

Nourishing ourselves with foods high in Omega-3s and healthy fats is one of the best ways to support a healthy brain and a quality meditation practice in which to shift your patterns. Our body uses Omega-3s and healthy fats to build grey matter in our brain. In addition to brain nutrition, hydration is essential to healthy cognitive function, concentration, attention, memory and self-directed neuroplasticity.  

A simple practice to begin priming you for brain resilience and change is to put your food on a plate, eat it at a table, and make sure you have a healthy fat, protein, and source of quality slow carbohydrates like vegetables.

3. Daily Shaking Practice

When we experience a stress response, stress hormones (including adrenaline) move into the bloodstream and muscles contract and tighten. These physical changes occur in order for the body to engage in a fight-or-flight response for protection. When the body is in this state we are at our most resistant to change.

In most of the stressors that we typically face in our daily lives, however, we do not hit or run our way out of the situation, and the contracted physical state remains for extended amounts of time unnecessarily. This ultimately creates a potential for long-term physical maladies, including chronic pain and illness, and a mental rigidity that sabotages change.

One of the best ways to release tension, stress, or contraction—and prime the brain for lasting change—is to quite literally shake it off!

Consider what a rabbit, or any mammal, does after it has been chased by a predator and is now safe: it likely hides under a bush or object and shakes until the adrenaline has dispelled and the muscles can relax. You may have experienced your body attempting to use this technique naturally and perhaps have even tried to resist or control involuntary shaking.

We can utilize this natural biological strategy to release muscle tension and alleviate stress hormone buildup in the body. Consider finding a private space and informing people that you will be shaking so they know there is no medical emergency. Having a daily shaking practice releases unused and un-useful tension and contraction, allowing for alleviation and relaxation.

Feel free to shake violently and to even develop a daily shaking practice—as many others have!

4. Tapping with Non-Dominant Hand

This is one of our favorite Neurosculpting tricks! When you are in a meditation and find yourself in a moment that you would like to access easily later or anchor in now, you can tap a part of your body with your non-dominant hand. Creating a physical sensation in connection with a particular experience creates an association. This physical association makes the experience more easily accessible later.

Tapping can be used to retrieve the memory during another meditation, and even throughout the day. While it may not be as in-depth as a full meditation, tapping in the same place on your body with your non-dominant hand will bring the experience to mind. Imagine trying to establish a new pattern yet never having real-time moments to remind your subconscious mind of it. That new pattern will simply begin to fade away.

With this simple tip you can give gentle reinforcement to your new pattern while standing in line at the grocery store, driving in your commute, cooking, or showering. You can tap with your non-dominant hand in most moments and access the experience on a conscious or subconscious level.

5. Daily Novelty Exercises

Pique your brain’s interest with novel activities every time it crosses your mind. You can use imaginative yet non-threatening, simple exercises throughout the day to engage your brain. Ideas that are interesting, but not unnerving, can excite brain activity without a stressor and bring it into a heightened state of focus and receptivity to adaptation. This supports your brain’s capacity for pattern changes, problem-solving, goal-setting, and approaching your day with relaxed yet focused attention. Be creative and keep it simple.

Here is a list of novel and silly ideas to engage healthy activity in your brain throughout the day:

  • Brush your teeth or hair with your non-dominant hand
  • 
Get dressed out of order (opposite shoe first, shirt before pants)
  • Reverse or rearrange your morning routine
  • 
Imagine or envision a completely new shape or color
  • 
Imagine what the world would look like if you walked on your hands

These simple practices each day gently engage our ability to down-regulate our rigidity and up-regulate our predisposition to adaptation so that when we focus on making changes the brain is as receptive and focused as possible. Lasting brain change is not about what you know, it’s about what you do.


Lisa Wimberger is the founder of the Neurosculpting® Institute. She holds a master’s degree in education, a certificate in the Foundations of NeuroLeadership, and certificates in medical neuroscience, visual perception, the brain, and neurobiology. She is the author of New Beliefs, New Brain: Free Yourself from Stress and Fear, and Neurosculpting: A Whole-Brain Approach to Heal Trauma, Rewrite Limiting Beliefs, and Find Wholeness. As the founder of the Neurosculpting modality, Lisa runs a private meditation practice in Colorado, teaching clients who suffer from stress disorders. She is a faculty member of Kripalu Yoga and Meditation Center, the Law Enforcement Survival Institute, Omega Institute, and 1440 Multiversity.


Join Lisa Wimberger & 25 Leading Experts in the Fields of Neuroscience and Functional Medicine in the Brain Change Summit!

Lisa Wimberger

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Lisa Wimberger is the founder of the Neurosculpting Institute and author of New Beliefs, New Brain. A member of the National Center for Crisis Management and other care associations, she has a private practice in Denver, CO, specializing in helping clients with stress disorders. For more, visit neurosculptinginstitute.com.

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5 Neurosculpting Practices for Lasting Brain Change

Incorporating these five best neuroplasticity practices can open the doors to a more graceful, resilient, and lasting experience of change.

Neurosculpting

Founder of the Neurosculpting® Institute Lisa Wimberger speaks with Tami Simon about how people can change their ingrained beliefs and conditioned behaviors using her revolutionary method. Neurosculpting takes a whole-brained approach to changing the way we deal with stress. Lisa relates how to “set up our brains for change” by calming our fight, flight, and freeze response, and guides us through a Neurosculpting session so we can see how we might respond in a new way to a stressful situation. (66 minutes)

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5 Tools to Create More Space in Your Mind

Busyness, distraction, and stress have all led to the shrinking of the modern mind.

I realize that’s a strange thing to say. Most of us don’t think of our mind as something with space in it, as a thing that can either be big or small, expensive or claustrophobic.

But just think about the last time you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or out of control. Chances are, you might not even have to think that hard. You might be experiencing that state right now as you read these words.

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First, our mind wanders. It spins through all sorts of random thoughts about the past and the future. As a result, we lose touch with the direct experience of present time.

Second, we lose perspective. We can’t see the big picture anymore. Instead, it’s like we’re viewing life through a long and narrow tunnel. We become blind to possibility, fixated on problems.

Put these two together and you’ve got the perfect recipe for eradicating space in the mind. The landscape of the mind begins to feel like a calendar jammed with so many meetings, events, and obligations that these neon colored boxes cover-up even the smallest slivers of white space. 

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1. Meditation.

You’ve no doubt heard about all of the scientifically validated benefits of this practice. It reduces stress. It boosts productivity. It enhances focus.

That is all true. But here is the real benefit of meditation: it creates more space in the mind. To get started, try it out for just a few minutes a day. Use an app or guided practice to help you.

2. Movement.

So, maybe you’re not the meditating type. That’s fine. You can still create space in the mind by setting aside time for undistracted movement.

The key word here is “undistracted.” For many of us, exercise and movement have become yet another time where our headspace gets covered over by texts, podcasts, or our favorite Netflix series. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. But it can be powerful to leave the earbuds behind every once in a while and allow the mind to rest while you walk, stretch, run, bike, swim, or practice yoga.

3. Relax.

When it comes to creating headspace, we moderns, with our smartphone-flooded, overly-stimulated, minds seem to inevitably encounter a problem: we’re often too stressed, amped, and agitated to open.

Relaxation – calming the nervous system – is perhaps the best way to counter this effect and create more fertile ground for opening. When we relax – the real kind, not the Netflix or TikTok kind –  the grip of difficult emotions loosens, the speed of our whirling thoughts slows, and, most important, the sense of space in our mind begins to expand.

How can you relax? Try yoga. Try extended exhale breathing, where you inhale four counts, exhale eight counts. Try yoga nidra. Or, just treat yourself to a nap.

4. See bigger.

When life gets crazy, the mind isn’t the only thing that shrinks. The size of our visual field also gets smaller. Our eyes strain. Our peripheral vision falls out of awareness.

What’s the antidote to this tunnel vision view? See bigger.

Try it right now. With a soft gaze, allow the edges of your visual field to slowly expand. Imagine you’re seeing whatever happens to be in front of you from the top of a vast mountain peak. Now bring this more expansive, panoramic, way of seeing with you for the rest of the day.

5. Do nothing.

Now for the most advanced practice. It’s advanced because it cuts against everything our culture believes in. In a world where everyone is trying desperately to get more done, one of the most radical acts is to not do — to do nothing.

Even just a few minutes of this paradoxical practice can help you experience an expansion of space in the mind.

Lie on the floor or outside on the grass. Close your eyes. Put on your favorite music if you want. Set an alarm for a few minutes so you don’t freak out too much. 

Then, stop. Drop the technique. Drop the effort. Just allow yourself to savor this rare experience of doing absolutely nothing.

Nate Klemp, PhD, is a philosopher, writer, and mindfulness entrepreneur. He is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Start Here and the New York Times critics’ pick The 80/80 Marriage. His work has been featured in the LA Times, Psychology Today, the Times of London, and more, and his appearances include Good Morning America and Talks at Google. He’s a cofounder of LifeXT and founding partner at Mindful. For more, visit nateklemp.com or @Nate_Klemp on Instagram.

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